From an early age, I was dedicated to making food which to me was an art form. Watching my dad grill up steaks for hungry friends and family and seeing the anticipation and delight on their collective faces was something that I always envied. Everyone knew that he was the Patron Saint of Sizzle, the one that carved the meat. Mostly known for his grilling, my dad also had a very special hidden talent: the man could make a mean breakfast.
And over the last year, I’ve noticed a trend: the rest of the world loves brunch. I too love brunch, but brunch to me was always homemade and a labor of love. It was time for friends and family alike to get together and enjoy a greasy, protein and carb filled beginning of the day. I remember many a vacation day, Sunday or holiday where the big man would be behind the griddle, slinging hash browns, making some cheesy eggs, Mimosa in hand with three different styled spatulas.
While I am not basic, I have a few basic qualities. I guess you could say I’m a little bit country when it comes to my ways. Some of it is born from tradition, some from laziness, but my brunch intentions are pure.
Sure it’s easy to saddle up hungover and go pay out the ass for bottomless Mimosas. I’d rather it be on my own terms. When I’m making brunch, it’s a planned event. I don’t know what quinoa is and I don’t really want to find out. I’d rather be the menu master. A typical Madoff brunch involves cheesy seasoned scrambled eggs, some Alderwood smoked salt and brown sugar candied bacon (always use the oven, not a frying pan, ya dingus), made-from-scratch fried chicken and waffles or some farmer’s market blueberry pancakes.
I love a good deal. The hunt of finding the balance between affordable and delicious is half the thrill. A dozen eggs at the farmer’s market is, like, $4 at most. London broil is $3.99/lb., and an entire bag of spinach for those omelets for three bucks. You can make an entire breakfast for your friends for less than one quinoa and kale whatever. Ballin’ on a budget, while it takes some time, is well worth the effort.
Likewise, pairing the right beer, mixed drink, cider or whatever your brunch beverage persuasion is great. Founder’s Breakfast Stout is a personal favorite if you can find it but really any porter, stout or ale is great. Sure there are staples, but the entire case of Andre is half the price of “bottomless mimosas” for you and your squad (do people still say that?). A cooking beer is a must (in addition to an apron) to show people you mean business.
Life is about choices. Sure, there’s the option to pay some high school kid to make you a half-assed bacon and egg sandwich, but why not do it yourself? Have some friends over – hell, make it a tradition. Go out on a Saturday and do brunch on a Sunday. A little hair of the dog, have people bring their best dish or freestyle your own breakfast. If you get drunk the night before a planned brunch, there’s no need to have to walk, Uber or drive drunk (or in my, case jog home); just crash on the couch, watch some cartoons or ESPN and shoot the shit while the food cooks.
The at-home brunch is a thing of beauty. Want grilled cheese with bacon? All you. Mimosa vs Bloody Mary? Porque no lo dos? It’s a money saver and a game changer. No more $30-40 brunches. The basic crews may laugh, but everyone knows it’s just jealousy. Cooking is an art; it is dedication, research and most of all, a creative process.
A little Madoff brunch secret? I call it the Mountaineer Breakfast. Season a London broil. Cook it to rare, let it sit for five minutes while you prep other stuff. Cut it up into bite sized pieces. 24 eggs, made in a giant aluminum pan. Season it, cheese it up and scramble in the steak bits. Get out some corned beef hash, either use canned corn beef hash or if you’re feeling it, make it yourself. Throw it together and cook until eggs are done. Steak should be medium rare. It is the protein holy grail for a strong morning brunch to soak up the prior night’s debauchery.
I encourage you all to give the at-home brunch a shot. I know it’s a lot of commitment and some think it’s easier to hop in the car or take an Uber, but nothing great is ever easy and nothing easy is ever great. .
Image via Foodies Feed